N-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids and risk of all-cause mortality among general populations: a meta-analysis

Sci Rep. 2016 Jun 16;6:28165. doi: 10.1038/srep28165.


Prospective observational studies have shown inconsistent associations of dietary or circulating n-3 long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LCPUFA) with risk of all-cause mortality. A meta-analysis was performed to evaluate the associations. Potentially eligible studies were identified by searching PubMed and EMBASE databases. The summary relative risks (RRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were calculated using the random-effects model. Eleven prospective studies involving 371 965 participants from general populations and 31 185 death events were included. The summary RR of all-cause mortality for high-versus-low n-3 LCPUFA intake was 0.91 (95% CI: 0.84-0.98). The summary RR for eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) intake was 0.83 (95% CI: 0.75-0.92) and 0.81 (95% CI: 0.74-0.95), respectively. In the dose-response analysis, each 0.3 g/d increment in n-3 LCPUFA intake was associated with 6% lower risk of all-cause mortality (RR = 0.94, 95% CI: 0.89-0.99); and each 1% increment in the proportions of circulating EPA and DHA in total fatty acids in blood was associated with 20% (RR = 0.80, 95% CI: 0.65-0.98) and 21% (RR = 0.79, 95% CI: 0.63-0.99) decreased risk of all-cause mortality, respectively. Moderate to high heterogeneity was observed across our anlayses. Our findings suggest that both dietary and circulating LCPUFA are inversely associated with all-cause mortality.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis

MeSH terms

  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated / pharmacology*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / blood
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid / blood
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mortality*


  • Dietary Fats, Unsaturated
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid